Identifying the Story
The telling of a story is the primary purpose that brings actor and director together. Identifying the content of that story is essential for the development of a good end product, and establishing a clear understanding of story can improve an actor's performance. Understanding the content and purpose of the story places the actor in control of the material being used and consequently creates the potential for greater freedom during the performance.
Identifying the story means clarifying at least two elements. The actor needs to clearly understand
in the story?
How to Identify
Perhaps this is because one of the actor's primary tasks is to learn the dialogue, so the assumption is often made by the actor that what is happening in the scene is directly related to what is being said. But this is not always the case. Frequently the story is actually happening between and around the dialogue. The story is generally what is happening to the characters while they are saying the dialogue. For example the dialogue may be entirely about John and Jane discussing what happened at the football in the last five minutes of the game - but what really happens in the scene is that - John tries to seduce Jane, she slowly realizes what he is trying to do and rejects his attempt. This is a fairly clichéd example but it is not uncommon for dialogue and story to be as distinctively different as this example implies.
Start When Assessing a Scene.
ONCE THE STORY HAS BEEN CLEARLY IDENTIFIED THE DIALOGUE WILL OFTEN TAKE ON A COMPLETELY NEW MEANING.
Story is Saying
Whether intended or not, the thematic content of a story will inevitable speak to its audience as a thematic message is always implied by the outcome of the events of the story. However if the theme of a play is clearly defined then the actors can help translate that intention into the production by using the reasons behind their character's decisions/choices to explore issues related to the theme. A constant subtle use of this process will bring a very unified purpose to the production and ultimately a clear understanding of the story's theme to the audience.
ONCE THE THEME HAS BEEN CLEARLY IDENTIFIED THE REASONS BEHIND THE DIALOGUE MAY TAKE ON A COMPLETELY NEW PURPOSE AND THE DIALOGUE MAY TAKE ON A COMPLETELY NEW MEANING.
Identifying the theme will be dealt with in detail on another occasion.
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